We are often asked how we possibly fit everything we need into a vehicle or how one goes about packing for van life. When living in a van, it is crucial that you utilize every bit of space possible and consider what belongings provide the most value to your life. You quickly learn how to organize your things and store them in a way that will be beneficial to you. This post will cover some of our favorite options for van life space saving and packing tips.
Tips for Packing like a Pro:
Think about how often it is used:
One important thing to consider when packing your entire life into a small space is how often your belongings are used. When you live in an apartment or house, you tend to accumulate things over time that simply take up space. It can be easy to assume that you need something just because you own it. One rule we stood by when packing for van life was asking ourselves if we used that item daily or weekly. If it wasn’t used that frequently, we left it behind.
You don’t need ten pairs of jeans:
One thing we have learned on the road is that you usually wear the same outfits on rotation throughout the week. It can be easy to over pack, especially when it comes to clothing, but it is important to be realistic about what you actually will wear. Most of the time, depending on your job, you will be out in nature and not around people who will judge you for wearing the same thing two days in a row. It is also important to consider the location you will be spending most of your time and what the weather will be like there.
Organization is everything:
One of the easiest ways to feel like you have more space is to stay organized. When things are cluttered in a van, your square footage becomes even smaller. Giving every item a designated place and keeping things tidy can make a huge difference. Using baskets and storage cubes are helpful ways to compartmentalize items and keep them from moving around as you are driving.
Utilize every inch of space in your home on wheels:
Although space can be limited in a van, there are plenty of ways to create extra storage or counter space without making things feel more cramped. Some easy ways to do this include pop up shelving, hanging baskets, and storage space under the bed. You learn to get creative with your space and how to make the most use of it.
Our Favorite Space Savers:
Below are several items we’ve found to be useful on our van life journey.
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- Packing cubes: Packing cubes are a great way to keep your clothes organized and save space. We like the Shacke Pak cubes because they come with a variety of sizes and offer several color options. The different colors and sizes are great for separating winter clothes from summer clothes, pants from shirts, ect.
- Storage baskets: Not only do storage baskets keep items organized, they are also useful in preventing things from flying around in the cabinets or onto the floor while you are driving. We recently discovered these wire baskets and they have been amazing for our kitchenware because we can see what items are inside and don’t have to dig for what we need.
- Utilize hooks: Hooks are perfect for hanging and storing things like hats and backpacks. You can add some hooks in your build or even use these durable magnetic hooks.
- Foldable table and chairs: There are many camping chairs and tables that are easily assembled and can be stored compactly in a bag. They don’t take up much space under the bed and are easy to set up when you are enjoying time outside of the van.
- Swivel seat: A way to have seating in your living area without taking up valuable space is by adding a swivel to your passenger and drivers seat. Swivels are easy to install and can be added at any time. We recently added one to our passenger seat and it has been amazing to open up the space between the front and back of the van and gives us more room.
- Pop up table: If you need extra counter space for working or cooking but don’t want to sacrifice space a pop up table is the way to go. This can be done by adding folding shelf brackets to a sturdy piece of wood or butcher block that can fold up or down when it is being used.
- Fruit and snack storage: These hanging bags are amazing because it is a great way to store snacks or fruit without taking up room in a cabinet.
Although the thought of packing your entire life into such a small space can be overwhelming at first, it does get easier. You learn what works best for you and how to get creative with the space you have. Van life has a way of teaching you that living with less means having more. If you have any other space saving tips or suggestions drop them in the comments!